Center for the Defence of the Individual - Twice in one week: HaMoked petitioned for writ of habeas corpus after the military failed to trace two Palestinian detainees who were arrested from their homes late at night
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Twice in one week: HaMoked petitioned for writ of habeas corpus after the military failed to trace two Palestinian detainees who were arrested from their homes late at night

The right to be notified regarding arrest and place of detention is a basic right of both detainees and their families, and is a precondition for the protection of other rights, such as the right to legal counsel and the right to adequate conditions of detention. But while the Israeli authorities are obligated to notify families regarding their loved one's place of detention, the military and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) do not meet this obligation when it comes to residents of the oPt, and do not even enable Palestinian families to contact them directly and request information. Further, they forbid detainees classified as "security detainees" from communicating with their families. In the vast majority of cases, the only way for families to find out where their loved ones are detained is through HaMoked, which contacts the Military Incarceration Control Center (MICC) – tasked with compiling all detention data and detainee whereabouts from the various incarcerating authorities. The MICC is obligated to provide accurate and up-to-date information to tracing requests within 24 hours so HaMoked can notify the families.

On August 8, 2022, HaMoked filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a 47-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank who had been arrested from his home late at night over 36 hours earlier. The petition was filed after HaMoked attempted for 24 hours to trace the man at the request of his concerned family who had no idea where he was being kept. First HaMoked contacted the MICC and then directly approached the Shomron and Etzion military detention facilities, and even the Israel Prison Service (IPS) but to no avail. Only in the evening after the petition was filed, was HaMoked informed that the man was in fact held at Shomron – although three times at least, HaMoked had been told the man was not there, which clearly shows the military failed to register the man at the place of detention upon his arrival as required by law. 

In a similar case, HaMoked had to petition the High Court of Justice (HCJ) for writ of habeas corpus on August 2, 2022 on behalf of a 24-year-old Palestinian man whose location was unknown following his pre-dawn arrest from his home over 24-hours earlier. HaMoked contacted the MICC, the Shomron and Etzion military detention facilities and other relevant bodies, but without success. Meanwhile, the detainee’s family received a phone call from a man who said he saw the detainee at the Jerusalem hospital Shaare Zedek, which left them anxious not only about their loved one’s whereabouts but also about his health condition. Again, only following the petition, HaMoked was informed the man was held at Ofer prison, and in the morning of the following day, it was also revealed that on August 1-2, 2022, the man had undergone various medical examinations at Shaare Zedek.

In both cases, the families did not know what happened to their loved-ones, and were also denied the possibility to secure them legal counsel, and did not know whether they had been provided with appropriate legal representation. In both cases, no explanation was provided for the authorities’ failure to trace the detainees. 

In early August 2022, HaMoked also had to send the State Attorney’s Office pre-petition letters concerning three other detainees the MICC had failed to trace – two of them were ultimately traced over 72 hours into their detention.

HaMoked will continue to fight for the right of Palestinian detainees and their families to receive prompt communication of the fact and place of arrest.

* Later on, the Court ordered the State to pay HaMoked trial costs in both cases: a total of ILS 2,000 in the first case and a total of ILS 4,000 in the second.

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